Readers' Tips

The Best Grad Gift

Most kids grow up without an understanding of how to manage money. Even smart kids don't seem to know the basics. When my niece graduates from high school this June, I'm going to give her a copy of The Millionaire Next Door by Thomas J. Stanley and William D. Danko. The advice is priceless and timeless. If she reads it and follows the advice given, she'll have a much better life. I figure it's the best kind of gift to give her!

Additional TDS Resource: More graduation gift ideas

Protecting Garden Tools

If you're a gardener, you have your favorite hand tools. I keep mine in great shape with a bucket of sand. I put a little used motor oil in the sand. Tools are kept there when I'm not using them. They don't rust, stay clean, and are all in one place. Can't beat that!

Additional TDS Resource: Visit the gardening section of our library

Easy DIY

Most car manuals recommend that you change your engine and cabin air filters twice a year. You can have someone do it for you, but it'll cost about $25 for each one. That's $50 twice a year! You can buy most filters online for less than $10 and install them yourself without special tools. YouTube videos will show you how. Even someone who's not mechanically inclined can do it!

Early Bird Books

Saving On Pet Food

With two large dogs, our pet food bill was getting to be a problem. Now, instead of shopping at Walmart once a month, I go to the farmer's supply store. I save nearly half!

Additional TDS Resource: Saving with cheaper kitty litter

Reducing Healthcare Costs

Here's a way to cut your taxes for 2018. Fund either an HSA (Health Savings Account) or FSA (Flexible Spending Account). There are limits as to how much you can deduct and you need to have an appropriate health insurance plan, but the money that you contribute will not be taxed as ordinary income. Therefore, when you spend it on healthcare, you'll be getting a discount equal to your tax rate. Check with your employer Human Resource representative or your accountant for details.

Costly Commuter Cures

I have to commute a long distance to work, which uses up a lot of gasoline! To save gas, I make sure there's nothing in the car that I don't need. Totaled up together, various items in the trunk or interior can add a few more pounds and cause the car to use a bit more fuel. Also, when I'm on the highway, I don't drive 70 miles an hour. I get in the slow lane and keep it on 55 to stretch my gas mileage. It takes maybe five or six minutes more to go slower, so I just leave early enough to still arrive at work on time. I'm also going to try to partner with some other workers, so we can carpool. Every little bit helps!

editor's comment: Another way to reduce the cost of commuting is to avoid rush hour traffic. Sometimes changing your travel time by just a few minutes can make a big difference in how many stop lights you sit through!

Additional TDS Resource: Visit our library section on "Increasing Fuel Mileage"

The Shoppers' Dance

I have heard that the music is used to move you through the store. If the store doesn't have many customers, the music is slowed down to make you walk slower and possibly impulse buy. If the store is crowded, the music is faster to make you walk faster and get your shopping done.

editor's comment: SW was responding to "How Retailers Trick Shoppers into Spending More." Is this true? Can anyone verify it? It does sound like something that stores would do (ignore the pun!).

Penguin Randon House


I love to save money! So I signed up for every list that offered discount codes and "special deals." This winter, I realized that I'm buying a lot of stuff just because it's a good deal and not because I really need it. Therefore, I deleted the email account that I had set up for all the deal emails. Next I'm going to find a way to sell some of this stuff that I got such a good deal on!

Additional TDS Resource: Here are the top 10 reasons people overspend

Debt Reduction Motivator

Working my way out of credit card bills can be draining. I'm making progress ($3200 last year!), but it's hard to stay motivated. Therefore, whenever I reduce it by $500, I head to a butcher shop and buy a nice steak! It's not a purchase that I would normally make, but it costs less than $20 and gives me a reason to continue the fight.

Additional TDS Resource: Don't miss the secret to keeping to your budget!

Skeeter Relief

As we head into spring here in Alabama, the mosquitoes are returning. Here's how to keep them away without nasty chemicals. Just put a little Listerine® on a tissue. Rub your ankles, wrists, and any exposed area with the tissue. I don't know why, but I guess that mosquitoes just don't like it!

Additional TDS Resource: More on natural backyard mosquito control

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